The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2892483
Posted By: John Minear
22-Apr-10 - 10:24 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
With the 1860's we have a peculiar problem that I have not figured out how to solve. A good number of the folks who show up in the later published collections started going to sea in the early to late 1860's. For instance, Captain John Robinson went to sea in 1859. He's got quite a developed list of chanties in his BELLMAN collection. Whall went to sea in 1861. He was only at sea for eleven years and he has quite a collection. Richard Maitland, who gave so many songs to Doerflinger, went to sea in 1869. Harding, in Hugill, probably went to sea in the late 1860's. Some of the singers in the Carpenter Collection were at sea in the 1860's. I don't know about Sharp's informants, but they were old fellows, too. And there is Joanna Colcord's father, and Hugill's father as well, along with some of Hugill's other shipmates and informants.

The problem is that their songs were "collected" much later in their lives. We don't know when they learned them. We don't know whether they come from the late 1850's or the 1880's. All I have been able to say is that they *could* have been learned as early as the '60's.

The only collections that come to my mind that I have been able to date to the sixties *to my satisfaction* are the ones from Adams in ON BOARD THE ROCKET, which I think can be dated to 1868, and the anonymous article in ONCE A WEEK, "On Shanties," also from 1868.

I'll be interested to see what we can turn up otherwise.